Foods that Boost our Immunity
by Jill Ruttenberg, RH, AHG
As we strive to keep ourselves strong and virus-free, it’s important to eat foods and use spices and herbs that help to strengthen our immune systems. While supplements are important, please remember that the foundation of a strong, healthy body is eating nutritious foods!
This article focuses on immune-boosting foods and spices; our next article will address the herbs you can use to help your self, your friends and family to stay healthy!
Feel free to share this information!
FOODS to eat plentifully:
Garlic: Your number one anti-viral food/spice. Contains Allicin, which is also healthy for the heart. At the start of cold symptoms, put lots of garlic in your foods, greens, or put in blender with lemon, ginger & honey and drink it down! Should move that pathogen right out!
Red Bell Peppers: 2x the vitamin C in an orange (211% of RDA), high in antioxidants (beta-carotene) as are Carrots/squash orange/yellow/red veggies.
Broccoli: Antioxidants, Vits. E,A & C
Chickpeas (Garbanzos): Zinc, Protein (recommended 25mg zinc/day as supplement, taken with food.
Strawberries: Tis the season! ½ cup gives you 50% of normal Vit. C needs & antioxidants, low in sugar.
Mushrooms (prefer Crimini, Oyster Shell, Shiitake): Vit B,D, rich in Zinc &other trace minerals; full of Beta glucans which are the best organic material in nature for boosting immunity.
Plain Yogurt: Gives us pro-biotics which inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria and boosts T-cells (immune cells)
Spinach & other Greens: B vites, antioxidants, Beta-carotene (more nutritious steamed than raw). I recommend raw salad greens and handfuls of others (kale, chard, spinach, dandelion) steamed daily and eaten throughout the day. Try with garlic/ginger/Braggs for more flavor.
Sunflower Seeds: Have at ‘em! Vitamin E, B6, Selenium (a potent antioxidant)
Salmon, Halibut & Tuna: Rich in Omega 3’s (fish oil) which play a big part in strengthening immunity.
Coconut & Coconut Oil: contains lauric acid and caprylic acid which fight off viral/bacterial/fungal infections.
Lemon: antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, with polyphenols as antioxidants, is also detoxifying.
In general, increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, which give us antioxidants and vitamins, eat a high fiber diet (50 grams or more per day has been shown to reduce incidence of sickness), avoid alcohol, refined sugar, large amounts of caffeine, fried foods, processed foods and excessive amounts of meat & dairy.
ANTI-VIRAL SPICES (many are HERBS!) which help boost immunity:
(Hint: It’s Spring! Try growing some of these in your window garden, or outside if you have space!)
Tumeric: #1 spice for strengthening the body and protecting against infection, inflammation and serious diseases. Use in smoothies, soups, rice/bean dishes, chicken, fish, meat and mix with coconut milk to make “Golden Milk”. Recommended: ½-1tsp. per dayWe grow potent, organic Tumeric here at AmaTierra (see below to order our solar-dried powder!)
Oregano: Antiviral spice. Easy to grow in containers. Eat 1-2 leaves per day, or use 2 drops Oregano Essential oil in a capsule (too hot to put directly in your mouth!)
Ginger: So many good properties of ginger. Aside from boosting immunity, reducing inflammation & nausea and strengthening your digestive system, ginger is a diaphoretic herb which helps sweat out toxins. This is why it is a “first response” herb when symptoms first arise (see Garlic, above for a tonic to mix & take)
Cayenne Pepper: Stimulates many of the body’s systems, including metabolism, is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, warms the body and promotes perspiration to expel pathogens. Try a dash in foods or in spice tea, with cinnamon. If you don’t like hot foods, take it in capsule form, 2 at bedtime.
Cinnamon: has the highest levels of antioxidants to fight off infection, is anti-inflammatory and warming. It also can level blood sugar and reduce the body’s stress caused by those fluctuations.
Thyme: antiviral, helps strengthen lungs, reduce infection, resolves cough, stimulates immunity
Cilantro (Coriander leaves): Another high antioxidant spice, also can detox the body from heavy metals.
Here in Costa Rica, the cooks in every household use “los olores” in nearly everything they make: a combination of garlic, onion, red pepper and cilantro.
Get creative and find ways to use these foods and spices every day to keep your immune system strong through these trying times. And remember to keep your Thoughts healthy too. I like to keep affirming that I have all that I need, I am Safe, Well, Happy and Peaceful. And so are YOU !
This year, AmaTierra has a surplus of our very powerful, organic solar-dried Tumeric. We are selling 4 oz. Bottles (see photo above) for $8 (US$) and would be happy to send you some.
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
Jill Ruttenberg, RH, AHG
Founder/Reg. Herbalist (AHG) at AmaTierra Retreat & Wellness Center in Costa Rica
Jill Ruttenberg, RH, Co-Owner & Wellness Director of AmaTierra Retreat & Wellness Center in Costa Rica, is a professional nutritionist, certified practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and clinical herbalist registered with the American Herbalist Guild. She is also an experienced massage therapist, energy healer and Hatha yoga instructor. The Wellness Center at AmaTierra is Jill’s living dream, the fruition of decades of training, practice and experience in natural medicine and the healing arts.